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How to Defend Your Firm, Your Professionals, and Your Clients from Fraud

Jun 24, 2024 2:48:45 PM | 5 min read


As the digital age proliferates, so too does the risk of fraud. Whether it’s getting your individual ID stolen or having your entire firm fall prey to a phishing scheme, the risk of suffering some form of external fraud threat has never been higher. Criminals are becoming more sophisticated at social engineering, i.e., tricking employees into surrendering credentials or other crucial information, and the amount of data breaches that professional services firms have suffered has steadily increased in recent years.

However, this increase reflects another type of fraud that is not external in nature. A growing number of employees and managers are becoming involved in creating fraud from within the business, leaving firm leaders with two fronts of scamming and dishonesty to contend with, not just one.

Though this brief illustration of fraud may seem disheartening, there are several factors that professional services like yours can leverage toward greater protection of your colleagues, your clients, and your bottom line:

A Culture of Ethics

This tip may seem obvious at first glance, but installing an organizational culture of ethics goes far beyond telling your employees to be ethical. A culture of ethics also encourages both employees and managers to be transparent. When employees feel they can speak their mind without fear of reprisal, and that their concerns will be truly listened to, the potential to suffer a data breach from without or within decreases markedly.

This ties back to the notion of investing in a great employee experience, supporting employees with the resources that they need, and creating a workplace culture they feel safe to invest themselves in. This makes employees more vigilant against fraud, and thus makes a great employee experience an effective countermeasure for professional services.

Lines of Defense

A healthy and transparent workplace culture is a great way to combat fraud; so too is setting up lines of defense around your fraud controls. More specifically, firms can benefit from structuring their managers and chains of command around fraud controls, thus guaranteeing a stricter access process.

One such example of this strategy was recently proposed by the Institute of Internal Auditors, which recommends creating four such battle lines around fraud controls. The first and second lines should comprise senior managers. The third line should consist of external auditors, while the fourth and final line should be made up of internal auditors. Structuring fraud controls access in this manner goes a long way toward detecting and defeating fraud attempts in whichever form your company might encounter.

Maximum-Grade Platform Security

Finally, professional services firms must invest in top-tier digital security. This is another idea that might seem gratuitous to mention, but you might be surprised how many firms and professionals are reluctant to invest heavily in a secure platform. Better for those resources to go toward such an investment than to be lost to a scammer who took advantage of weaker security measures, right?

Suralink, the world leader in PBC request list and engagement management software, understands the need for such security investments and why they matter more than ever in this digital age. Indeed, our founder was an accounting professional who acutely understood the need for an engagement that wasn’t just expedient, but secure. That philosophy informs our platform design, and ensures that every step of your engagement is fortified with maximum-grade security.

Click here to learn more about how Suralink’s security features and its all-in-one platform create transformational experiences for you, your professionals, and your clients!